Monday, July 16, 2012

Wall Art

So about a month ago I decided to begin painting. It was always something I enjoyed when we had art classes and such, but I really wanted to try to do a good job with this piece. My original plan was to do the same scene in four different seasons, but after realizing that I would have to be really good to get the same looking scene four times.

After about 2 hours in Michaels (I love craft stores and crafty hobbies) I decided that I should splurge the most on the type of paint I bought. I bought a set of 18 different Reeves acrylic paints, a set of brushes from Artist's Loft, and a set of two 8x8 canvases from Artist's Loft. In total it cost about $30, and the paints definitely cost the most but they will last a while and I think that a quality paint is definitely the most important component when trying to paint moderately accurate details ;)

The picture isn't the best quality, but what I ended up doing was a scene of two Eastern Bluebirds (a male and female) on a Red Maple tree in the springtime. I wanted to (try) to accurately depict the plumage and buds of the tree but everything was done freehand while looking at numerous pictures.

What fun hobbies do you tend to return to or discover when you have down time?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blogger Awards!

So last week I was so excited to see that Bri over at The Modern Parsonage nominated Tiger Lilies, Lovelies, and Laments for two awards! You should really check out her blog, she does amazing DIY, home-improvement projects that I do not have the time, space, or initiative to complete!

The two awards were the One Lovely Blog and the Very Inspiring Blog awards. It's very exciting to me because I really haven't been up to date on posting, but this is definitely what I needed to get the wind in my sails again, so thank you to The Modern Parsonage! I already have ideas for at least three or four more blog posts ;)

The rules require you to thank and link back to the award giver, share seven random facts about yourself, and to nominate fifteen other blogs for these awards...

Without further ado, these are the 15 blogs (in no particular order) that I would like to nominate for the

As you can see, each of these blogs is fabulous in their own way!

Now, to the 7 "interesting" facts about me...

1. I am getting married on June 1st 2013 to a wonderful man who looks like Dave Grohl circa 1995. Seriously.
2. My biggest passion is for teaching children and adults about the environment and how to develop their relationship with nature
3. I love the comics Questionable Content, XKCD, and Girls with Slingshots
4. Instead of TV I watch YouTube videos
5. I love sharks, I have a tattoo of one on my back
6. Even though my graduate studies don't allow me to be girly on a regular basis, I love getting "fancified" sometimes and wish I had a reason to more often
7. There is nothing more important to me than my family

Thanks again to Bri over at The Modern Parsonage for bestowing my blog with these two amazing awards, I hope you are all having a fabulous day, and please if you feel inclined tell me a little about yourselves!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Top 5

It seems like each month I am focused on different things, whether they are completely new or rediscovered, and I wanted to share some of those things with you. Seeing as my interests stretch across a wide gamut, I will focus these favorite things in 5 categories- Food, Beauty, Place, Entertainment, Lifestyle. These are obviously very broad categories (intentionally).

So, without further June Top 5!


This month was the first month that the local Farmers Market was really in full-swing, so without a doubt my favorite food related topic of June has been fresh produce! Not only is the produce that is available at this market locally grown, most of it is organically farmed, you really can't get much better than that! Below are some of the fresh goodies that I have been lucky enough to enjoy this summer thus far.

Everything on the cutting board was from the market- 
fresh thyme, dill, asparagus, and arugula! 
On the left are red potatoes that I roasted with some thyme (in the above picture :) )
and on the right are some snap peas that I roasted with dill (also above!)

Without a doubt, my favorite beauty product this month as been Tarte's Amazonian Clay blush in Blissful. This blush is so great for a multitude of reasons. It is the first "high end" makeup product I have ever purchased (besides a small Urban Decay eyeshadow palate in High School) and it was so worth it! Tarte carries products that are more safe for skin (no parabens or mineral oil, etc.) than other high end products and specifically the Amazonian Clay blush contains beeswax instead of synthetic wax and no phthalates or sodium lauryl sulfate. As often as I can I try to buy beauty products that are free of nasties like parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, and sulfates.
Tarte Blissful in pan. They use this pretty Amazon River stamp for the pressed powder.
It is such a pretty coral-pink color and very buildable for color depending on if you want a sheer layer or a darker wash of color. Perfect for summer.
In natural sunlight with no flash


This may be ridiculous but my favorite place right now is at my work. I work part time at a nearby preserve. We have a huge educational garden so how can you not love that? It is hands-down my favorite place to be and on top of that I love the people I work with.
How can you not love this? Tomatoes, Beans, Zinnias, 
Bachelor's Buttons, Eggplant...the list goes on!


This month my favorite "entertainment" related activity has been reading other blogs. When I first started wanting to write a blog I didn't look too much into other blogs, but now that I have become a little more intent on posting I find myself looking towards other blogs for both inspiration and project ideas. Some of my favorites to read have been Fig + Sage, The Small Things Blog, BloomBake&Create, and my sister's blog The Modern Parsonage


It seems like each summer I get into a kick of wanting to exercise and be more fit but it usually wanes fairly quickly. This month I have been sticking fairly well to doing some type of exercise each day. The key for me is staying entertained by whatever I am doing that day. Since I am not trying to lose weight, I'm simply trying to get back into shape, I try to make sure that I keep my heart rate elevated in aerobic activity for 25 minutes a day. In addition to that I walk and/or bike about 2-4 miles a day. While I have always been an "active" person, I am trying to bridge the gap to be a "fit" person and I can already notice positive changes in that direction. 

What are your favorite things this month? Was there anything this month that you discovered that you "can't live without"?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Craft Time

So it has been much too long since I posted, but I am back with a crafty project that is super easy and increasing in popularity all over tumblr and pinterest. Its....Glitter jars!

So much glitter!
These are a popular project especially for mothers or those that take care of small children, as they are meant to relax and give children time to think when they may be nervous, anxious, or frustrated. That being said, they work for anyone who enjoys staring at slow moving particles in water-especially sparkly ones (think: snowglobes) :) 

The first place I saw them was on one of Kristina Horner's youtube videos and then followed to get the directions from Chasingthefirefly over on wordpress. Madge, over at Chasingthefirefly calls them "Mind Jars" which I absolutely love.

It's clear that between the simplicity and seemingly effective design, it is something that has been around for a while that can work on almost all age groups. They are so individualized that you could make one out of any colors that you find soothing or just plain fun. 

The project is very, very simple and (take it from me) the materials don't necessarily have to be measured to a T.

Glass jar (I used 1 pint Ball mason jars)
Glitter (as much as you want, I don't think there could be too much with this)
Glitter glue (about 1 tablespoon to 1 cup)
Hot water (I just turned it as hot as I could from the faucet)

So simple!
I made one purple and one blue since those are my two favorite colors. Now, I don't have any children, and while I will eventually use these with my children, right now I will more than likely use these for times when I feel anxious about work, relationships, or graduate school. Other than that, they are simply very fun to give a good shake and watch the glitter float! The glue gives a little more substance to the glitter so everything floats more smoothly instead of falling quickly to the bottom of the jar.

I have a feeling that these will come in handy when it comes time to defend my Masters thesis ;)

What tips and tricks to you have to calm anxious nerves or frustrated feelings?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Creepy Crawlies

My job is to work with things that are normally considered "creepy crawlies" so generally I am not phased by many things. For instance, these little guys...

Juvenile Blue racer snake, non-venomous
Are the subject of my Masters in Biology research. Honestly, you have to admit they are kinda cute. On top of that, I've held or cared for dozens of other types of snakes, lizards, frogs- the general gamut of reptiles and amphibians (including some venomous!). While I find myself comfortable around most venomous vertebrates, it's really the venomous invertebrates that I find my heart rate hastening around.

There is a particular class of creatures that do give me the classic "willies" or "h/eebie-jeebies" as I like to say. Those are the arachnids. This is nothing new, tons of people have negative feelings toward spiders (or other arachnids--see: ticks, mites, scorpions, etc.), and generally while I don't welcome their presence inside of the house I see their importance. And because it was a particular spider that spurred this post, I am going to focus on spiders specifically.

Spiders just like almost all other animals, play an important role in balancing our ecosystems. If you get rid of the spiders, it throws off the invertebrates that it preys on (eats) and those that eat them (see: birds-which are reptiles, amphibians, non-bird reptiles, other invertebrates, etc.). For an example--

Say a bird eats a spider and a spider eats a fly....if the spider is taken out of the equation, and the birds wont eat the flies...then the number of flies increases and the number of birds decreasing (assuming that ONLY the spider eats the flies and nothing else does, and the bird will ONLY eat the spider and nothing else).

This is obviously a very simplified example, but it gets the point across nonetheless.

Now for this evenings happenings and what led to this post in the first place...I was getting ready to take a bath with a Lush bath bomb (Ickle baby bot--if you are interested), and I was greeted by this little guy/gal...

The mystery spider in a drinking glass later identified as the dreaded Brown Recluse
This isn't the first spider I found in my bathtub, and if last summer is any indication, it wont be the last. My general M.O. for these situations is to capture the spider so I can first identify it and then do with it whatever I deem appropriate--those that pose some danger to me I kill, those that don't are given a new home in the great outdoors--where they belong. I don't generally condone killing of spiders because of their important role in the food web (haha, get it?) but I don't like to risk another encounter with dangerous animals.

After a brief search, my suspects were confirmed that this was a brown recluse spider. Brown recluse spiders are a fairly venomous spider and can lead to extensive tissue damage and pain if a bite is left unnoticed or untreated for very long. Needless to say, his/her fate was sealed once I identified it completely. 

The easiest way to determine if it is a brown recluse spider is the presence of a violin shape on the first segment of their body (the cephalothorax, which includes their head and thorax). Additionally, they have relatively long, thin and tapered legs, and are not a hairy spider.

What kind of creepy crawly stories do you have? Are there any animals in particular that you get the "h/eebie jeebies" about? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Apartment Gardening

While living in an apartment has its benefits, one big downside is the lack of sunny, plant conducive places that lend well to gardening. In many cases, apartments have fire escapes or small balconies that are so great to take advantage of if you are yearning to put your green thumb to good use! For those of us who don’t have that luxury, it is necessary to find other spaces to utilize.

Not only is gardening a productive pastime, as it can lead to producing food that you may incorporate into your daily life, having plants in your living space can lead to improved air quality (especially important for apartments that may be sharing ducts-central air/heating) and improved attitudes. There is also the potential to teach little ones about responsibility surrounding a plant. Because plants are living things that need food, water, sunlight (and lots of patience!) they are a perfect introduction for kids to learn the responsibilities that may surround a future pet…say hamster, reptile, or even dog. But I digress…

My introduction to apartment gardening began about a year ago. Last year when I moved to my apartment I brought with me three, very leafy, tomato plants and one very leafy basil plant. The basil plant thrived even indoors (see in the center, there? Awesome!)

Thriving basil plant!
and eventually went to seed before I could use all of the delicious leaves, but the tomato plants had to be kept outside. My landlords are very particular about having a “presentable” exterior to their apartment complex and while I think that there would be nothing more presentable than a slew of pots and raised beds, they disagree. I was able to find an area outside that is hidden from the road but still receives about 4-5 hours of direct and indirect sunlight a day. Then my tomatoes died. They were scorched by one dry, hot weekend that I wasn’t able to water them.

This year I’m not trying my luck with tomatoes, instead I thought I would try a native plant (wild bergamon) and a few different types of peppers. One jalapeno, a lipstick (sweet non-bell), a Spanish mammoth (mild), and a sweet bell pepper. My school’s Botany Club has a fundraiser to sell the started plants, so that took out some of the guesswork and I was able to take and repot my plants. Hopefully these guys will be a little more heat-tolerant, especially since this summer is already keying up to be a warm one! While these will stay outside in my hidden corner with the bike rack, there are a couple of plants I keep inside on my small window sill.
My four pepper varieties and the native Wild Bergman in the lower left corner

Last year I found a great window planter at Ace that was only about $7.00, I had planted an Aloe variety plant and a few other plants that I had bought (as another fundraiser) in this planter but by this year only the Aloe was still alive. I scrapped the Aloe plant (sorry!) and wanted to try something new. Queue tangent… On March 26th, 2011 my boyfriend proposed. The ring came in a box made of seed-implanted paper, and the invoice, information card, envelope, etc. were all made of the same seed-implanted paper. I really want to try to incorporate the wildflowers that will (hopefully) grow into my bouquet for the wedding next year, and I finally got around to planting the paper. My hope is that in a month’s time, the little wildflowers will start poking their sprouts out of the soil yearning for a little more sunlight.

a Japanese Yew on the left and my planter with the seed-implanted paper

This seed-implanted paper is a whole new experience for me so I will let you know how it goes! Do you do any apartment gardening? If you do, what have you been able to successfully (or unsuccessfully!) grow? I’d love to hear from you!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nail of the Day!

I was fairly skeptical of the matte finish nail polishes when they first came out, but when I saw some awesomely bright Zoya polishes on clearance at Ulta this winter, I couldn't resist trying them out. They were just perfect for Spring and Summer! Since the warmer seasons are now upon us, I broke out one (the green) for Easter but it wasn't until now that I wanted to try them both. With the multi-colored nail craze being oh-so-popular this Spring, I knew these two colors would look awesome together!

shown with three coats of each polish and one coat of Orly "Wont Chip" 

...and they certainly didn't disappoint! The blue is Phoebe and the lime green is Mitzi. Now, one of the problems I initially had with the matte nail polishes were just their overall finish. Really? Matte? That being said, the colors are gorgeous, and despite being marketed as meant for use without a topcoat, that color REALLY pops under a topcoat. The lime green looks shiny and electric and instead of the blue being dull (and well, matte) the hints of glitter that show under a topcoat make it look lovely. Additionally, the formulation is very forgiving and reminds me of what I was told when learning to paint walls- many, thin coats are better than fewer thick coats. If you do many thin coats, it tries almost immediately and to do three coats on one hand only takes about five minutes, then you are ready for a topcoat...not too shabby.

Overall, I think that the two polishes are great for the neon fads that are coming out along with the warmer weather, but definitely recommend a topcoat to increase the pop of color and wear of these matte polishes!

Have you tried any of the matte nail polishes? What are your favorite warm weather polish colors? Share below! :)